Awaiting Rice's arrival. Abbas
Photo: AP
Abbas: Backdoor negotiations needed
Palestinian president says serious talks behind closed doors with Quartet’s participation imperative to resolving Israel-PA conflict

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Wednesday to open another channel of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in a bid to resolve the conflict.


Following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Abbas said serious talks behind closed doors are imperative, adding that the Quartet should participate as well.


“For some time now we’ve been considering the option of opening another channel of communication between us and the Israelis with the participation of one or all of the Quartet members (United States, Russia, European Union, United Nations) to discuss issues related to a permanent agreement,” he said.


Abbas said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to arrive in the region once again on January 13. The two met in Jericho
in late November.


The Palestinian president arrived in Cairo on the heels of his meeting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem last Saturday. The leaders agreed that Israel would release USD 100 million in frozen Palestinian tax funds, and also discussed Abbas’ request to permit the transfer of arms from Egypt and the transfer of forces from the Jordan-based Badr Brigade to the Palestinian Presidential Guard, this within the framework of the Dayton Plan.


Olmert said cabinet has already agreed to accept Abbas’ requests, but added that the decision has not received final approval as of yet.


First published: 12.27.06, 18:38
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